China universities vow ideology clampdown on staff, students

BEIJING - Three top Chinese universities have vowed to tighten "ideological" control over students and teachers, as a wider clampdown on free expression in the country intensifies.

The comments came from the Communist Party committees of Peking University, Shanghai's Fudan University, and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, which each wrote a statement in the Communist Party theoretical journal Qiushi.

The statement from Peking University - China's top academic institution - condemned those with "ulterior motives" who target the ruling party.

"In recent years, some people go on the Internet and with ulterior motives add fuel to the fire... ultimately targeting the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system," it said.

"We need to respond to this with a cool head, guide the teachers and students to strengthen political sensitivity." Fudan University focused on ensuring it would "strengthen educational guidance" for its young teachers so they could "grasp Marx's way of reaching his viewpoint".

The university should also "reinforce" teaching the history of the Party and the country, "and provide a deep understanding of why the West's path of development is unsuited for China", its statement said.

The article, entitled "How to carry out good ideological work at universities and colleges under new historical conditions", appeared in Sunday's edition of Qiushi, a fortnightly publication.

China maintains a tight grip on information, with the media controlled by the government and online social networks subject to heavy censorship.

Hundreds of bloggers and journalists have since last year been rounded up in a government-backed campaign against "Internet rumours".